Transit-oriented design, architectural analysis, planning and policies. Comparative study of Mauritius and Singapore
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The world needs a more viable and sustainable mode of connection. It must be incorporated with other regions to ensure that there is the kind of connection that leads to efficient movement using train services. This kind of mobility, which brings connection to several parts of the world must involve the mixed use of residential and commercial areas. It brings out the issue of new urbanism and smart transport as some of the important tool in the world as a whole. Due to its importance, the development of transit-oriented design systems is one area that requires comprehensive plans and policies that take into account individual architectural structures of different regions. However, policy regarding the regional land planning involve a wide range of people. This means that the process must incorporate all groups regardless of profession, economic class and age. This study seeks to identify transit-oriented design policy issue in Mauritius in relation to the need to develop an MRT similar to that which was built in Singapore. It provides a detailed analysis of on the differences that will hinder Mauritius from adopting some of the policies and procedures that were adopted by Singapore. Although a number of them might be helpful, there are those that will require improvement or elimination for successful implementation of the project. It will thus include the performance of a keen environmental study. This is intended to help the policy experts and lawmakers in the country of Mauritius be able to diagnose the cause of these transport policy issues and suggest valid solutions which will better the transport area in the country of Mauritius.
Many countries make attempts to emulate other countries that have been successful in the development of a number of projects. The transport system is one of the common fields where such practices are conducted. However, the problem is usually posed in the sense that not all previous strategies can be employed from one state to the other. Several varied characteristics play a role in this. This research paper makes attempts to analyze whether all the policies that were applied in Singapore during the construction of the MRT system can be applied in the strategic plan of an MRT system in Mauritius. Therefore, how can the country consider its architectural structures to implement the Singaporean policies in order to make the region benefit from the transit-oriented development? Therefore, how can they be appropriately applied to ensure that the public transport system in Mauritius is maximized? As such, this paper is aimed at providing a meaningful comparison in relation to the planning systems in Mauritius against those of one of the best practice examples in the world; Singapore (Smart Growth America 2014).
Significance of the research
Transport is an important part of any community across the globe; the impacts of transport are felt in all corners of any economy from political, economic and even social aspects of community lives. However, it is not enough for any government or country to offer just mere transport but must ensure it is quality and meets all the local and international standards (Handy 2005, 147). Development of good transport needs good management that can be achieved by the proper planning of the present structures. This requires that a country considers the best options in relation to the architecture of the region. As much as a country may wish to adopt success strategies used previously by a different country, it is necessary that they consider their unique architectural elements (Handy 2005, 147).
It is expected that Mauritius will implement a light rail transit in the near future. Although there is already an MRT system in Singapore, both of these countries possess similar conditions that have been developed in their transport systems over time. As such, the Mauritian government can benefit greatly from the incentive and success story of Singapore (Susan 2011, 828). The community can use it as their guideline towards the implementation of the new plan. However, Singapore has completely different architectural characteristics and aspect from Mauritius. These have to be put into consideration during the implementation plan. In order to develop an effective transit design plan, there is a need to incorporate most of the features that encourage transit ridership (Venketasawmy 1998, p. 58).
The starting point of the solutions to traffic congestion must ensure mobility of people from home to work places. The ability of people to move from home to work and back has been hindered very much by traffic congestions. Nonetheless, it is vital for the policy makers to improve on commuting with regard to the traditional home-to-work trip through proper transit-oriented programs (About Smart Growth n.d.).
Proper transit-oriented development provides all the necessary benefits associated with livable communities. It comes in the form of a mix of application that makes it possible to move around without the need of a car while at the same time enjoying the greater mix of different types of houses. This study will be conducted upon the consideration that people have a wide range of transportation choices to select. With this, there is an increased sense of community among the members of the community and an enhanced sense of place. This kind of development bears numerous other kinds of benefits. As such, it requires proper planning of the various structures. In turn, it needs appropriate budgeting strategies to assist in its attainment. Many of the countries that are making plans to attain transit-oriented designs should understand these factors when making their plans. They should additionally use the plans that were previous used by countries that have been successful in such developments (Sustainable Development Commission of the United Kingdom n.d.).
Mauritius is considered one of the countries with a small economy. It is a little island found in the Indian Ocean and possesses about 1.2 million inhabitants. Since 1980s, it has grown tremendously in its economy. During the last decade, both the public and private sectors have indicated the need to perform mega urban developments. Among these is the development of the MRT system similar to that which was developed in Singapore. Unlike in Singapore the designing and development of Mega urban projects such as the impending MRT requires much planning and consideration to avoid failure. As such, this paper will explore the characteristic small and vulnerable economy of Mauritius and the affordability of the mega urban projects in relation to the unique architectural features. They will be compared and related to Singapore, which is among the countries with an advanced economy and societies that are highly developed (Federal Transit Administration n.d.).
To investigate the needs of the Mauritian community in relation to transportation
To assess the elements that led to the successful implementation of MRT in Singapore
To perform a comparison on the similar architectural conditions between Mauritius and Singapore
Analysis of how the procedures that were used in Singapore can be incorporated in the Mauritian plan
To find out what the unique aspects are in Mauritius to enable the achievement of success
Consideration of the factors in Mauritius that can hinder the success of the strategies applied in Singapore.
This paper will compare the varied land uses and practices in Mauritius and Singapore. Since Mauritius plans to develop their MRT in the near future, the study will analyze the already existing programs that are well known and diverse. This will be compared to the approaches that led to the implementation of MRT in Singapore (Enoch 2003, 298). Owing to the varied architectural designs in the two countries, only the appropriate strategies will be considered for use in Mauritius. Literature review was used to identify potential programs, practices and case studies. Both academic and professional literature was reviewed to identify already implemented plans, or that is currently underway. Information from departments of transportation (DOTs) and state governor’s office. Peer reviewed journals from fields of city planning, urban affairs, transportation and housing were also analyzed. Analysis was also carried out on websites of academic, nonprofit organizations, and professional organizations. However, the main analysis was to be performed between the documents that were used in the implementation plans in Singapore and related to the uses of land in Mauritius to ascertain whether most of those policies can be incorporated (Enoch 2003, 298).
Mega urban developments in Mauritius
In the past, the urban sector in Mauritius has dealt with a number of mega urban developments. Most of these have had their ups and downs that have led to different rates of success and failure. There have been several of such mega urban developments that have failed owing to the lack of proper planning. The current idea to develop a transit-oriented design system is among the mega urban developments. It thus call for serious planning and implementation of policies and structures that are highly suitable.
In comparison to other areas, there are numerous regions that have attempted to develop the transit-oriented designs. One of the most proper examples is Singapore. It is the most commonly known reference point. It is thus the best case to be used by any city that is developing or making plans to improve its transport planning and systems.
Data analysis and synthesis
Plan for land use
The MRT in Singapore was constructed with a main focus on the need for land use. This was considered in 2013 when there was a need to develop a new plan to accommodate the increasing population. It was assumed that by 2030 the population would be around 6.7 million. Land reclamation from the sea would be necessary in order to get additional 766 square kilometres of land. They would be done mainly in the islands of Tekong and Taus. Therefore the land use plan related to the development of the transit-oriented design system would include the expansion of Tampine North, and other areas such as Bidadari and Tengah. Building of 100, 000 HBD flats was part of the plan and a future creation of a Southern Waterfront City. Additionally, new towns like Western Water Catchment will be built. They also include high density towns with numerous amenities. Therefore, from 52%, 60% of the land in Singapore will be reserved for industry, housing and community facilities. This means that more housing units will be built, rail networks doubled and more people will live close to parks (Xinhua, 2013, par. 1-10).
Various kinds of art of architectural designs adorn the landscape of MRT in Singapore. They are award winning features that create ease of accessibility and efficient models. They are composed of colourful murals and sculptures. They speak largely about the history and culture in Singapore. These were however, incorporated during the later stages. Earlier less attention was given to the design of the station with much emphasis being put on its functionality than on its aesthetics.
It is evident that the Mauritian community has been faced by a number of challenges during the implementation of the previous mega urban projects in the area. As such, there is need to take into account the architectural structures that include the use of land before the establishment of an MRT in the region. In order to ensure that they achieve high levels of success similar to the Singaporean government, they will need to adopt some of their schemes.
It is evident that the planning papers that were used in Singapore were highly effective. The documents that were used in the effort to make the city attain a transit-oriented design made use of proper policy arrangements. In this relation, Singapore is considered one of the countries that made use of comparative approaches to plan their transport system. In order to attain this, they engaged in best planning practices that involved a number of aspects. These are setting of clear objectives, targets towards ambitious performance, benchmarking and effective implementation. In addition, it openly declared its objective to achieve the best performance levels in the world in transport in comparison to some of the benchmark cities in the world. For this reason, most of them can be incorporated in the Mauritian plan to develop an MRT system. Therefore, some of the major activities to be performed will include:
Linking land use with transportation
The successful transportation policy cannot be achieved without linking transportation matters with land. Land forms an important element of transportation since all transit systems and any other movements are based on land. Land is an important effect to both economy and political aspect of the country; this therefore means that the issues of land must take center stage when discussing transportation matters in any country or country around the world (Enoch 2003, 298). The political experts must approve the use any space in the country of Mauritius before any undertaking. The policies to be implemented should put into consideration the comparison between other successful legislation in other countries such as Singapore. (Khadaroo and Seetanah 2007, 1153). Some of the important areas to be compared will include the parameters involved in transport performance, the key phases involved in the projects, implementations and investments, the approach that is used by the cities in relation to the integration of a public transport system as well as the relationships and policies associated with transit-oriented systems and land use. They will help to alleviate some of the common problems that are experienced in Mauritius. The main one is traffic congestion
One of the major problems that are presented by the current state of Mauritian transport is the level of congestion. The transit-oriented design development in Singapore was done in a great deal of success. It was able to set the pace for most of the other countries that include Mauritius. Traffic congestion has been proven beyond doubts to be among the key indicators of the failures in the transportation policy of the country of Mauritius. This is in addition to the fact that there are narrow streets, which are filled with numerous buildings. Some of these are factories that emit harmful and dangerous gases to the atmosphere (Boopen 2011, p. 827). The traffic congestion Mauritius is of a major concern. In various studies carried out has confirmed that Mauritian as a country incurs numerous losses due to the delays in its highways. Looking at the negative impacts associated with traffic congestions, a valid solution is important to eradicate this kind of situation a country of Mauritius’s stature. The solutions to this problem must be narrow but must open wide consultation avenues due the magnitude of the impacts of traffic congestion. This presents a number of concerns that are essential for policymakers to understand so as to overcome the real diversity of transportation challenges being faced by Mauritius (Boopen 2011, 827).
They need to act according to the best practices of transit-oriented development. With this, land uses are expected to be incorporated into an urban system that is legible and dense since it emanates from the central transport hubs. In order to help in the appropriate selection of policies and practices to enable the Mauritian community to develop a transport system that is transit-oriented its success rate in coming up with other similar mega projects will be analysed. Its similarities in structure with Singapore will also be evaluated. As such, the successful policies that were implemented by Singapore will also be incorporated in the recommendation efforts (Khadaroo and Seetanah 2007, 1153).
The policies deployed must involve the use technology, because the same technology has caused a lot of changes in both work and investment patterns. It is suggested by policy makers in Mauritius that the country should invest much on the electric trains to help decongest the highways. This is believed to a technological advancement of great importance to the country’s economy. In these electric trains the investment family should also be given distinct wagons to help faster ferrying of goods (Enoch 2003, 298).
The use of electric train is an avenue to provide more public transit modes, the country of Mauritius requires more public transit mode due the fact that over a third of its population are not licensed this imply that the country must provide, good public transit mode to improve on other areas like road safety too.
In this case, the implementation of these measures will help to convert a car oriented society such as Mauritius into a transit-oriented society like that experienced in Singapore. It is because Mauritius will be able to complete a project that is based on the need for World class public transportation that is made up of light rail transit. It will be in the possession of an LRT system that includes bus-rail interchanges, road works and local stations.
Revisiting and critiquing the theoretical framework based on the findings
The Mauritian community is making effort to attain a transit-oriented developed neighbourhood where there is a station or a stop that is surrounded by relative high-density developments and emerging low density developments that tend to spread from the outer part towards the centre. Thus, if Mauritius applies the above mentioned policies that were used by Singapore, it will be possible to transform the region into communities that are more transient. Besides helping Mauritius, they will also be beneficial for most of the other countries that are facing serious challenges in the effort to improve their transport systems into more transit-oriented design systems. A major feature of this system is that the transport features will run across the capital and main cities hence presenting an ease of movement.
Current transport systems require that they are combined into forms that provide more benefits to the community than the basic ability to move around the town. Individuals would like to see the emission of harmful gases reduced, solving environmental problems and reducing the prices of fuel. Although not all of the policies that were implemented by Singapore can be applied, there is a basic requirement to enlighten the numerous approaches in transport planning and make good use of urban planning tools. In essence, the country will have to deliver a strong project and planning in a natural way.
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